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Book Review: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay ~ Michael Chabon



This book is an extraordinary read; written by a writing master in which even the small details just hold the reader into the story.

Chabon’s third novel and it is a PULITZER PRIZE WINNER.

It took me 2 months to finish the book.  I could hardly put it down, but the 650 pages were tissue paper thin and the font tiny, I could only read it in no longer than 2 hour sittings and it meant I could not read anything else for hours.   This book is not available on KINDLE.   I was loaned my copy.

Joe Kavalier and Sam Clay are cousins just about the same age.   One from Prague sent to free his family and one from Brooklyn, New York.

This book is about the rise and fall of the Comic Book Golden Age and how these pieces of fiction taught, inspired, and reflected the historic reality exploding into the world.   Fear, interpretation and novelty items packaged for a nickel; then a dime.

This is a book about being Jewish and the importance of family and family connections.

This is a story that drives home into the heart of individuals miles and miles away and keeps it staked inside commanding emotions and smoking cigarette after cigarette.

It is a story about the Empire State Building without King Kong and Fay Rae.

I never wanted to gain this much information about comic books or picking locks or back room deals, and I was delighted with the outcome of this referral.  I would have declared it not my kind of read.

The author can transport the reader all the while keeping the reader safe.  It is a Golem.   The story is powerful almost beyond description.  The words are intelligent and even funny.

This book deserves all the good words:

TIME MAGAZINE: “The kind of prose that leaps 600 pages of fantasy and social history in a single bound…never before told with as much imagination, verve, and affection. “

CNN dot COM:  “Kavalier & Clay is more than a novel about the American Dream…It’s a grand novel about dreamers selling the  dream, itself, but the realization that we CAN dream.”

This book will exercise your brain and jog your memory; it will keep you in practice and improve your writing skills.

It is pleasure.

Are you getting your summer reading list in shape?   Any suggestions?  Has a friend recommended a powerful read to you that you enjoyed and would not have picked up without the referral?  Could you share it with us?

Your comments are greatly appreciated.

All books shared on this site are available from Amazon.com via referral from this post or the recommended reading in the index.

Other Reading you might enjoy:
Barbara Kingsolver This Writers Writer
Diana Gabaldon Outlander Series
Born to Run
Equal Rites

22 Responses to “Book Review: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay ~ Michael Chabon”

  1. Talon Says:

    That sounds like an awesome book, Patricia. I haven’t really had time to think about summer reading this year though I do have one book – “The Blythes Are Quoted” by L. M. Montgomery that my daughter gave me for Christmas that I’ve been anticipating enjoying reading in the pergola this summer. It’s a rediscovered last work of one of my favorite authors and I’m almost afraid to start it because I know it will end much too soon. :(
    .-= Talon´s last blog ..Photos and music… =-.

  2. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    I’ve been looking for good books to read during an upcoming vacation. Thanks!
    .-= vered | blogger for hire´s last blog ..Coping With Motherhood =-.

  3. Patricia Says:

    I know exactly how you feel about imagining reading that book in the garden glow and then knowing too soon it will be completed.

    This is an incredible book my friend Jeff recommended to me, it does not disappoint, the only negative was the tiny print and all the smoking – I sometimes felt like I was lighting up myself I was so into the story.
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Alaska Adventure for the Summer 2010 =-.

  4. Patricia Says:

    This is a good read and an absorbing one….I think it would certainly hold your attention on vacation, but a heavy book to carry around!

    I am working on getting all the books I have reviews under the Recommended Reading section….an easier place to find a list rather than the whole table of contents.

    Keep Equal Rites on you list I think your 11 year old would enjoy it with you.

  5. Patricia Says:

    I just re-read your comment…is that by the Anne of Green Gables author? I must read it too….

  6. Davina Says:

    Metaphors in Mind was referred to me and it has been one of the rare cases of me actually finishing a book this year. I found your statement in this review about how reading this book will improve your writing skills intriguing. Tell me more :-)
    .-= Davina´s last blog ..I’m Respectfully Yours =-.

  7. Patricia Says:

    I believe the piano teacher takes piano lessons to keep her skills improving and assisting her/ his students…this writer is like take a piano lesson – he is a writer’s writer – very skilled, his style is not mine, but it assisted me in doing this book review and truly liking what I had written.

  8. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. it’s interesting if you get recommended a book to read, and you trust the recommender ..

    Kavalier and Clay are in my head now – and at some stage I’ll find a copy & remember to read it .. it sounds educating …

    One day .. but thanks for the recommendation and review ..

    Have a good week .. Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Bat and Moth Survey Night – tonight =-.

  9. Chase March Says:

    I’ve had this on my “to read at some point in the future” list.

    I have read Michael Chabon’s The Escapists” which was a great graphic novel which also shows us the process behind the comics and features a story within a story. The book follows their trials and tribulations as the trio tries to start their comic careers in the so-called comics capital of the world, Cleveland. Anyone who has created art can identify with their struggles and passion.
    .-= Chase March´s last blog ..Teaching Tip Tuesday – 5 Shading Techniques =-.

  10. Patricia Says:

    nearly every day I get recommended to read a book and I try to read about 80% of them. As Chase says this is a story within a story and another story about WWII and the Jewish side, when someone escaped but the rest of the family – well it might ruin the tale…if I go further. I learned a great deal by reading this book.
    Not maybe the best story for you right now….My June 2nd review might be more your cup of tea right now.

  11. Patricia Says:

    This book is still about the “escapists” and the Cleveland folks are alluded to in this book….Chabon is a powerful writer and story teller – this recommendation came from a fellow who said if you want more fellows to read your blog review this book….

    Thank you for your comments. My Librarian daughter – hopefully getting a teaching job soon is enjoying reading your blog – I like it too…you do a good job…lots of art in this book

  12. Mark Says:

    Thanks for the review. I am intrigued.
    .-= Mark´s last blog ..If I Won The Lottery … =-.

  13. Patricia Says:

    It is quite a read! from quite a writer

  14. Sara Says:

    Patricia — You were very eloquent in your review of this book. My favorite lines were: “This is a story that drives home into the heart of individuals miles and miles away and keeps it staked inside commanding emotions and smoking cigarette after cigarette.”

    Those are writing words…maybe you need to start your own novel!

    Regarding summer reads…hmmm….I am re-reading “Magic Hour” by Susan Isascs. It’s an older book — a combination of mystery and romance, but I love the characters:~)
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..Story Photo: The Dragonfly =-.

  15. Patricia Says:

    Thank you for the compliment about the sentence – makes the cockles of my heart purr…:)
    and great thanks for telling us about a book which makes you like the characters…we can add to our list…

  16. Jannie Funster Says:

    Everything about this book sounds great to me!!

    How old were the cousins? Does the book span a number of years? Does it mention Archie comics? When exactly, was the “golden era” of comics? Is part of it really in NY, NY, or was that King-Kong line a metaphor?

    Looking forward to hearing more!


    Oh, new default e-mail address, this comment may be moderated?
    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..Let’s Drink Up The Stars (lyrics draft) =-.

  17. Jannie Funster Says:

    yep, awaiting moderation!



  18. patricia Says:

    New address? Oh I do so love to moderate!

    Yes it takes place primarily in New York City…Golden Age about 1930s until 1950s – Cousins met about age 18-19
    Yep it mentions Archie comics but it is mostly about the super hero guys and girls and their side kicks.

  19. Jannie Funster Says:

    Sorry had so many questions, especially since I just read over at Davina’s that you are struggling to keep your energy up. Please forgive? No, don’t answer that — save your energy.

    And Big Big hugs!!!

    (I was never here) :)

    ghost jannie….

    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..Let’s Drink Up The Stars (lyrics draft) =-.

  20. Patricia Says:

    I love all your questions and the blog and comments keep me going or coming back to the computer…it builds energy makes it grow

  21. Barbara Swafford Says:

    Hi Patricia,

    Loved the review. This does sound like a good book.

    I like when you do reviews since you’re reading books I normally wouldn’t be exposed to. Sounds like I need to be reading more books – something I haven’t done much of since blogging came into my life.
    .-= Barbara Swafford´s last blog ..Blog Badges – Beneficial Or A Waste Of Space? =-.

  22. Patricia Says:

    It is a good book – a big read – and another view of history via fiction.
    Now that I am review books, I get a large number of referrals and that is good, and they are not always in my genre – this is fun. I never would have read this book except for the person who loaned me his copy.

    Reading just can not be replaced, it is brain exercise – the fiction books exercise imagination and the mysteries help with problem solving. Blog posts are good too, but as we get older we need to stretch more both physically and mentally….big books seem to assist me in understanding human behaviors, word recall and just writing for myself.
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Book Review: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay ~ Michael Chabon =-.